'Inside Job' provides a comprehensive analysis of the global financial crisis of 2008, which at a cost over $20 trillion, caused millions of people to lose their jobs and homes in the worst recession since the Great Depression, and nearly resulted in a global financial collapse. Through exhaustive research and extensive interviews with key financial insiders, politicians, journalists, and academics, the film traces the rise of a rogue industry which has corrupted politics, regulation, and academia. It was made on location in the United States, Iceland, England, France, Singapore, and China.Written by
Charles Ferguson also directed the very good "No End In Sight" about the failures of the Bush administration with regard to Iraq and on how poorly thought-through their ideas were on that topic. His focus in this movie is also on the failure of power to prepare for what many could see was a nightmare in the making. Ferguson in this film traces the failure, and in many cases, the unwillingness of government, academic, and financial elites to make policy which ensures financial health for all. Ferguson made a lot of money as an Internet entrepreneur and can now make the film the way he wants, and it's caught on by word of mouth, by virtue of a little man named Oscar, and probably by the zeitgeist.
Ferguson tracks some of the key decisions which greased the rails for the meltdown-from the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act which destroyed the division between investment and savings banks, to the destruction of the reputation of Brooksley Born who had desired to put derivatives under the regulation of the CFTC of which she was the head, to the laissez-faire attitude of Alan Greenspan during his tenure as Fed chief. He interviews academics whose imprimatur and intellectual reputation were made available at a price. Ferguson also notes the popularity of cocaine and prostitutes on Wall Street at the time of this boom.
Ferguson interviews some of the key movers and shakers. If they're unwilling to be interviewed for the film, a message saying that that person declined to be interviewed appears on the screen. This is nearly more damning than if they do participate as it suggests they have something to hide. Ferguson doesn't suffer fools lightly and if he feels that an interviewee is not being straight with him, he is not shy about noting this. This is to our benefit as viewers and ensures that we see who is responsible for what. The movie is paced well, Ferguson is an intelligent, detail-oriented director and Matt Damon narrates the film quite ably.
If you don't know what derivatives are, this is a good film to fill you in, in a substantive and adequate way, on all the key points you need to know in order to understand the crisis. If you have followed the economics news closely, this is an excellent summary of the crisis. This really should be required viewing for all in the US.
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